Game Tengoku CruisinMix Special Reviews
It's easy to see why Game Tengoku CruisinMix Special is so beloved by Japanese shmup fans, but it's equally easy to understand why it's not as well known in the west as Parodius, despite being very similar in tone.
Game Tengoku CruisinMix Special is a friendly opportunity to visit with a videogame-about-a-videogames pioneer. As a six-stage shoot 'em up, Game Tengoku is stretched as far as $30 can take it. As a peak into the ultra-novelty of 1995's Japanese arcade scene, it may be priceless. It is both Important and Good that Game Tengoku is now somewhat localized and available.
Game Tengoku CrusinMix Special is best thought of as an experience. There are a lot of scenes where the main characters chat with each other and goof off - not to mention the multiple songs with vocals, commentary tracks, and even an interactive karaoke performance. This creates an atmosphere not often seen in such a tradition-focused genre. None of this comes at the expense of the game itself, which is a solidly enjoyable trip down memory lane. The scoring mechanics are well-realized, while the stages are cluttered with things to see and destroy. Ideally, all of the clutter could have been stretched out to create a more consistent and fully-realized shmup, but what's there is perfectly all right.
As a compilation of the arcade and Sega Saturn versions of a shoot 'em up from the mid-'90s, Game Tengoku CruisinMix holds up impressively well.